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tv   Tavis Smiley  WHUT  October 1, 2012 8:00am-8:30am EDT

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tavis: good evening. from los angeles, i am tavis smiley. tonight, a conversation with elizabeth banks'. her latest project, the new film called "picture perfect." we are glad to have joined us. a conversation with actress elizabeth banks', coming up right now. king had that said there is always the right time to do the right thing. i try to live my life every day by doing the right thing. we know that we are only halfway to completely eliminating hunger and we have work to do. walmart committed $2 billion to fighting hunger in the u.s. as we work together, we can
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stamp hunger out. >> and by contributions to your you. thank you. >> i am pleased to welcome elizabeth banks to this program. her latest project is a comedy called "picture perfect." here are some scenes. >> the bad boys have just
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gotten badder. world power. >> this is a list of all the songs we have ever performed. >> there is nothing from this century on here. >> our goal is to get to the finals. >> of bikini car wash is at of the question. >> i am so good at bikini car washes. down for cardio. >> what are you doing? >> what is a rip-off? tavis: of good trailer is a trailer you see any pretty much get what the story line is about. that is a good trainer. i think they get it. >> we were going for making you laugh. is a very funny movie about a
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group of misfit girls. a very classic tale in a new setting, i think. tavis: one of the things i thought when i saw this is that there is something about the fact that there is something in the ether, something in americana right now that is being driven so much by competition. competition has always been part of the american lifestyle, but it is like everything now is a competition. what is driving this competition thing in the stories? >> what a good question. competition has built-in drama. you don't have to look too far. people like to win in life. it goes back to the parent who
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says, does your 4-year-old reed? mine does. i was the one who grew up believing in not everybody gets a trophy. it is ok to lose. losing teaches you something. having to try and going through trials and tribulations to actually overcome, to triumph. that is what makes life interesting. we are all trying to win in a way and we are all trying to lead happy, healthy, fun, interesting lives. it is a lot of work. tavis: i am fascinated by what he said a moment ago. when you say you were raised in such a way where you came to value what it meant to not always come in first, i am dying to know more about what you mean by that. >> i brought my it leg sliding
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into third base playing softball. after i broke my leg, i had to do something else. i was not always on a winning team, but i love that sense of we are all here to accomplish a goal together. so i got into theater. we are going to put on the show and entertain some folks and we have to get it ready by thursday at 8:00, or we are going to fail. and we were so excited when we did, and people clapped. in life, you have to build a team. you need a good team around you all the time. it is all about their collaborators. i think about that now as an actress and producer. who am i going to surround myself with? i think it helps me with my sense of humor. you cannot take these things too seriously. you have to let it roll off your
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back. i just love the sense of team that it takes to win. obviously it is more fun to win. but i grew up still getting ice cream even if we lost. tavis: that did not happen for me. >> we did not get the trophy, but let's all go for ice cream. tavis: on this project you are the producer. how did that happen for you? it is not uncommon had to see actors who want to be producers, but you are actually doing it. how did it happen for you? >> it partially came out of my desire to work with my husband. my husband was an investment banker. he went to business school. when we were getting married nine years ago, i was just starting my acting career and traveling constantly. i literally was never home and i still spend a good half of the year away from my home.
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i am trying to figure out how are we going to get married and have a life together if you have a 9 to 5 job and i never hear. he is a very creative person and he has a real eye for a good story. it found this movie as a book proposal that came across his desk. he thought it would be a great story. before this we produced a movie for disney based on a cool graphics novel that he had read. i felt like he would really succeed in this business venture, and he has, and we work really well together. people say i could never work with my husband. it was never a question that we would do all right together as a team. so it came out of that, and then it came out of my desire to tell stories. i feel i am a train storyteller, as an actor. i consider it a crack. i studied in school. i went to drama school -- i
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consider it a craft. i am easily over educated for what i do. but it did instill in me a sense of pride for the craft of acting and storytelling, holding up a mirror to people and entertaining people and making them laugh and improving their lives. i wanted to do that at a level where i was not just responsible for the role. going into "the hunger games" tomorrow. i am only responsible for playing the role to the best of my ability. it is very gratifying to be with a project from the seed, from that book proposal across the desk, seeing the project in my mind's eye, finding the great collaborators, finding the
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writer to write it, finding a great director to directed, giving the actors and jobs. to be able to say yes to other people is a great feeling, really gratifying, amazing feeling. tavis: what, to your mind, made "the hunger games" work so well? >> did you read the book? those books captured everything for me. i can -- i think katniss is truly a modern heroine. she has an amazing moral compass. she also gets to fall in love. she gets to win and triumphed and take an entire nation with her.
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it is an epic story for today's time, in the way that the greeks were writing epic stories that we are still talking about, and shakespeare. i think suzanne collins created one of those amazing heroines that people just felt attached to. tavis: i read that you have six films in 2012. >> i am sorry, america. it is too much. tavis: how is that possible? i will be $5 if you can name all six of them. >> man on a ledge, the hunter games, what to expect when you are expecting, pitch perfect, the details -- hang on, there
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is one i am missing in there somewhere. what is it? tavis: is only $5. -- you owe me $5. >> is a great movie. tavis: i will take my $5 after the show. >> is coming to you in quarters. tavis: 6 films in one year. >> i shot them over a long time, all of them. they have just sort of all come out. i think they show a lot of range. i am testing my limits as to what i can do. six is a lot, so it was a big year. tavis: i am struck by something
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you said earlier in this conversation. you are about 10 years into this. that is a lot of work in a short time. a lot of acting work, and a lot of producing work. you jump in feet first into acting and producing. we will come to your family in just a second and the baby and all that. what do you make of the fact that you have been fortunate, blessed, to tell me that 10 years into this, that is a great track record. >> thank you, first of all. i came into this for the long run. i hope i am jessica tandy and i am on stage and fall over at 85 or something. with everyone applauding, thinking it was a joke. there she goes again.
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i would like to be doing it for as long as possible. it is a great job and a great life. i was given advice very young to find something that you love and just pursue it and do it and the money will come. that happened for me, and i am really grateful. also, never satisfied. i still think there is a lot to do and accomplish. there is a whole range of roles i would love to play. i am definitely much more jaded that i was 10 years ago and thought i could do anything in it would be amazing. it is called show business, and is a business. really coming to terms with being a business woman, that was interesting. trying to understand what that
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means. and by the way, there are great artists out there who just acted, and that is what they do. i heard an emetic -- an amazing interview with frank langella, sort of old school,, just how nobody confused any of them. they were all singular and what they did and what they brought to the craft and they all pursued their own pasts. what he was really talking about, he did not quite realize that, i don't think, was branding. modern-day branding, which is now what everybody wants and aspires to. christopher walken, there is no one else like him.
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i am going for, there is no one else like elizabeth banks'. tavis: that is not unwise in the world we live in today. but what is your brand statement going to be? >> i can do anything. i would love to be doing more romantic comedies. i love making comedies. i think it is what people know me the best for. right now i am happy. about the "30alk rock experience. how much did you enjoy that? >> amazing. when i was in drama school, if you tell me i would be hanging out with all these icons of film and television, i would have
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punched you in the face and said stop, it is never going to happen. i have had some amazing experiences with people i could not respect more. i have the utmost respect for everyone that i worked with on that show. >> i want to circle back to this producing thing again. i am struck by the situation -- the way you think and process. you and your husband are in this together. how important is it these days in this business, not that it was ever not important, but how much more important these days to be in control of how your branded, as opposed to leaving that up to an agent or publicist? i get the sense that you have a very hands-on role in how you are advancing and being branded, etc.
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>> i think it is as important as it needs to be for any individual person. there are people who work a lot harder than me and they have amazing brands. madonna comes to mind, jennifer lopez comes to mind. there are women who are working, working, working. i work really hard, but i also am trying to find balance. i am trying not to let it be so important that it takes over my whole life. really, that is what it comes down to. i am really trying for balance. i am trying to balance acting work that really invigorates me with the work that pays the bills and with work that i feel furthers me to keep working. it is complicated and nobody
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it is as important as you wanted to be. if you think of this as a business, as i do, in a certain way, it is a double-edged sword. i think of it as a business, but i do think i am an artist. my acting gives me my self worth. is what i came here to do. but it is complicated. you have to find a balance does to have longevity. that is what i care about. being granted too early or too tightly puts you in a box and that is not interesting. tavis: would you be happy just doing the producing thing at some point? >> maybe. probably not. i still love acting. there are so many great roles out there for women of a certain age when i get there. i would love to do lady macbeth.
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there are so many great roles in the theater that i would love to do someday. tavis: how is this balancing act working out with the family that you have? >> it takes a village. women forget that literally less than 100 years ago, we did not go to work. we raise our families and did it with our sisters and grandmothers and aunts. i literally did not have a babysitter that was not related to me. i lived on the same street as my grandparents and my aunt and uncle. two big irish catholic families that i come from. lots of people around. i was raised in a village.
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whatever that means now. i am very separated from my family here but you just have to find great people to bring into your life. we have lovely people that help us. it has become more difficult for women to ask for help. we have sort of been conditioned to do it all and get it all for yourself. i don't think it is possible. i've had to come to terms with please help me. i cannot do everything. tavis: did you get a chance to read about this big debate with more sucker? >> are you talking about that article about you cannot have it all? women right now or in a very
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interesting place in time. we are getting educations at unprecedented rates. outside the home we are finding -- women are finding joy in lots of different places. but it is unusual. we have however many thousands of years now of pretty strict roles. you make babies, you feed them and take care of them. there were times women hunted and gathered. i think it is all sort of coming around. let's have an actual partnership, 50-50. let's figure out how to move forward here and do it all together. >> i think what you and your husband have is not typical.
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it is a beautiful thing, but i don't know how typically this. >> it and there are a lot of husband-wife producing teams. i think a great marriage is a great partnership, a great team. whether that partnership is i go to work and make all the money and you stay home and take care of the home and family, and we value that equally. that is something that is not quite happening. putting a lot of value in home versus work. it is all driven by money, i guess. a housewife does not make money but she is certainly adding value to the world. the society values the money maker. tavis: with six projects out now, do you have any idea what the next one is going to be?
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no. 7. >> i do. i don't know what is coming out next on the calendar, but i have been doing some voice work. i just aren't working on an animated lego movie. i am working with morgan freeman and chris pratt. just funny, amazing vocal talents. we are all hanging out in the studio and laughing. tavis: i have never talked with an actor who did not love animation. >> anything goes. you can make mistakes and they can fix them. it is really fun, and you get to see yourself a little animated something. tavis: elizabeth banks' has a new project out called "picture perfect." if you go to the movie theater in disclosure eyes and just
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pick, she is probably in it. glad to have you here. that is our show for tonight. until next time, thanks for watching, and keep the faith. >> she is in love with scott. how can you stay silent when there's so much to object to. what kind of friends are you? >> i have something to say. >> i forgot about the tv movie that whitewashed our love story. >> i was not ready to get married. >> you really are an amazing woman, a brief period -- avery. >> if we wanted this thing to succeed, why would we have to
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live? >> i am good blending humor and heart. >> liz, divorce us. >> by the power vested in me, i now pronounce you divorced. >> for more information on today's show, visit tavis smiley at tavis: hi, i'm tavis smiley. join me next time for a conversation with former fdic chair sheila bair. we'll talk about our efforts to regulate wall street. that is next time. we will see you then. >> there is a saying that dr. king had that said there is always the right time to do the right thing. i try to live my life every day by doing the right thing. we know that we are only halfway to completely eliminating hunger and we have work to do. walmart committed $2 billion to
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fighting hunger in the u.s. as we work together, we can stamp hunger out. >> and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> be more. pbs.
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